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Posts Tagged ‘Jazz

For the last ten years or so, the collective Fanga has been on the up, blending Afrobeat, Jazz and Funk. An alliance of complementary personalities and cosmopolitan energies, Fanga first took form in 1998. Returning from Africa, Serge Amiano brings back a few vinyls of the likes of Fela, CS Crew and CK Mann that he plays to the Burkinabese rapper Korbo. Amiano being a hip-hop producer naturally takes on the role of the group’s artistic director right from the start.

The discovery of this urban African music of the 1970s quickly forms the basis of a shared passion. Fanga brings out its first six tracks in 2001, the group records “Afrokalyptik” in 2003, its first album. The following album “Natural Juice” comes out in 2007, warmly received and with much acclaim. Fanga is not only highly praised by Gilles Peterson but also the New York magazine Wax Poetics.

Despite being firmly rooted in certain Nigerian and Ghanean musical traditions (those of the 1970s’ afro-beat and high-life) Fanga is equally at home to musical concoction, as demonstrated by the samples and other hip-hop and electronic ingredients, not to mention the vocals in Dioula, English and French. The gritty horns and earthy analogue keyboards shape the group’s sound whilst Korbo has no hesitation in embracing his Mandingue roots.

Brought up on the raw energy of hip-hop, the group reposes equally on certain values that even today can only be found in Africa, a sort of candour and instinctive sense of rhythm which lends such freshness to Fanga. This urge to respond when faced with a base emotion, however fleeting, has governed their musical progression since the beginning of the 2000s.

These guys have a bit more grit in their grooves than most,  still very much in the best 70s-inspired Afro Funk styles you’d expect, but with a nice edge in some of the rhythmic undercurrents, almost as if their new recordings were actually some lost indie label sets from years back!

Empassioned and passionate.

hese guys have a bit more grit in their grooves than most — still very much in the best 70s-inspired Afro Funk styles you’d expect, but with a nice edge in some of the rhythmic undercurrents — almost as if their new recordings were actually some lost indie label sets from years back!

Killer gem from Brazil!!

This is a widely unknown, but excellent and charming conglomerate of Hip Hop, electronic music, Funk, Soul and Jazz with the finest Brazilian music traditions like Samba. Eduardo Bidlovski (Bid) is the composer and producer of this 2005 album and he not only has created a bunch of smooth, but never dull songs. Bid also assembled extraordinary guests for “Bambas & Biratas”.  Black Rio Soul legend Carlos Daffé opens the record with his warm voice on the catchy tune “não pára”, while Samba Queen Elza Soares later proves she also fits perfectly on relaxed tunes. But this is not a record that tries to gather attentions with Brazilian singer legends, the majority are contemporary artists and Brazil has a rich scene which fuses modern influences with traditional aspects. Rapper Black Alien, whizz kid Chico Science or everybody’s darling Seu Jorge are a few of them and also do participate. All in all 56 musicians were involved in this highly recommend work. Vol. 2 is announced for end of the year.

Tua Beleza.

You don´t miss anything cause of this small cover, it´s so boring and lacking in ideas, let´s concentrate on the music and Helge Schneider.

Helge Schneider is a phenomenon. As a highschool-dropout he toured for years as a little-known Jazz musician and stand-up comedian through small clubs in Germany, besides he started acting in his own movies. Of course produced with almost no budget and full off extremely anarchic and absurd humour, in two words: uproariously funny! But his humour deeply roots in German language and I think it sadly do not translate well into other languages.

Schneider soon gathered a small, but die-hard fanbase with these movies and his comedian tours which always come along with a lot of live Jazz. And then in the mid-90s,  from almost one day to the other, Helge Schneider became widely popular in Germany, his movies were Blockbusters, he played in front of thousands. And he still kept his anarchic parodies, the sudden and unexpected use of  infantile language, his Dada-esque absurdity and crude humour. Of course he acts milder on the big screen, but not that much and until today he is one of the very very few “comedians” I don´t immediately switch away on national TV.

And besides all that Helge Schneiders records fine jazz music, they aren´t very wide-spread, I also bet a lot people even don´t know he plays jazz. “Laut!” is a session recording with The Firefuckers (Thomas Alkier, Thomy Jordi, Eric St-Laurent) and Schneider playing the BR3 (besides piano and melodica). Grooving organ Jazz with Rock and Blues influences, always laid back instrumentalists with a lot of fun. Nothing mind blowing, but a charming Jazz session.

Für mehr Gummibass!

Not many information available about this Jam Band from Tel Aviv, which kindly gives us a hint with their group name. If you like modern Afrobeat-based bands like Antibalas, you can hop on the train, the waggons beside Afrobeat are Funk, Soul, Jazz, diverse Latin styles, Hip Hop and some Mideast influences.  Sounds promising? It is!

Anikuku consists of DJ Sabbo, member of the fantastic Soulico crew, who plays a prominet role in the band and which results in a different sound compared to bands like Antibalas; the several times at urbanology featured Kutiman; Yaya Cohen Aharonov (bass) and Shlomi Alon (sax) from the highly recommend hebrew Hip Hop/Funk group Hadag Nahash, as well as Ilan Arad (sax) and Idan K (percussions, dijeridoo).

Just having Funk!

End of the year and everybody presents a best of the past twelve months, oh, or even a best of the decade, 2010 motherfucker and if you wanna be really fresh, grub out some christmas records. All that shitty songs, the torture of christmas in a Soul, Reggae or whatever version, hooow sweeeeeeeet. To be honest, I can´t imagine to get bored more. Instead I continue with some good music and hope that this time of the year will end very soon. Christmas is a bitch.

Vibesman Isiah Stance, his bassist brother Dwayne and the phenomenal drummer Byron Breaks – the legends are back, kickin the Funk to the Jazz. The Stance Brothers are with one foot in the past and the other firmly placed on the kick drum, countless of hours spent jamming at their dusty garage. The trio’s unfaltering will to excel in playing funk-influenced garage jazz comes second only to their passion for shooting hoops at the nearby basketball court.

At least that is the story Teppo “Teddy Rok” Mäkynen tells about The Stance Brothers, the drummer and live band leader of the globe-trotting Five Corners Quintet, the visionary behind the late Teddy Rok Seven, and the producer of such Finnish jazz co-luminaries as Jukka Eskola and Timo Lassy. His idea was to make “the holy grail of beat junkies”, the kind of a record which you would love to sample but which would at the same time sound as a “real” instrumental funk/jazz album from the early 70s. The music positions itself somewhere between funk and instrumental hip hop. Jazz is very much present, but not in the leading role. But this is no retro-funk at all. The breaks are fresh and sound almost as cut-ups (maybe they are), and the grooves are infectious and timeless.

The Stance Brothers’ “Kind Soul”, has all the requisite breakbeat fundamentals: snares that sound like they’re being played in a basketball gym; closely microphoned kick-drums that thump with pleasing tightness; and an extremely minimal sprinkling of hi-hats.

Funk, soul, exotica, early-’70s jazz, and hip-hop all come together in a brew that is as finger-popping and natural as it is savvy.

Roll Call!

If you didn’t know beforehand, it would be hard to tell after the first listening that Skalpel weren’t actually a hot jazz combo. But Skalpel is only a duo from Poland, consisting of Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudio. Their second release from 2005 is for jazz fans and beat-heads both, “Konfusion” offers a dizzying variety of highlights for your greedy enjoyment. This Polish crate-digging duo is doing their cut and paste work so awesome, that you can practically feel the warm smoke from the interior of the jazz club waving over to your table near the bar. There are no borders between Jazz, Hip-Hop beats and Electronic for Skalpel, I guess it is not that wrong to call it fusion, but this will be definitely and irrefutibly jazz for most of the listeners, mmmmh well, I will call it Trip Jazz.

Whatever, it is more interesting that Skalpel did use a lot of old polish Jazz recordings for “Konfusion”. I really was surprised to hear that – this polish jazz scene must have been quite big and good to offer such a repertoire to produce a record like this one. But shame on me, I have to admit I never heard about if before, but after some reading and digging I found a lot about an interesting Jazz scene in Poland, which even reaches back to the 1920s and was also lively after the second world war and still is today. Under the socialist regime Poland had the most important Jazz scene from the eastern countries and the annually “Jazz Jamboree” festival in Warsaw was and is a prominent platform for the interchange of eastern and western Jazz scenes. If you want to read a short history of the festival, click here. Enjoy this laid-back record and maybe you will start to research on polish Jazz after listening to Skalpel.

Na zdrowie!

Fresh kickin´stuff, found the amazing Bebel du Guetto via the SoundGoods blog, where you can download two songs from her. And SoundGoods from Rio de Janeiro is always worth a visit, presenting a lot of superb mixes with music not only from Brasil, but from Latin America and Africa in general. I want especially spotlight on the MPBC Mix. The MPBC series was released by Phonogram-Polygram from 1978 to 1981 and presented contemporary popular brazilian music (Música Popular Brasileira Contemporânea). But don´t let you fool by the name, the record series with – as far as I know –  11 parts has nothing to do with MPB, how national pop-music generally is called in Brasil. In fact it was Jazz and Fusion more or less infected by brasilian music styles…… plopp blobb blobb, ya exactly, you did guess right: Forró, Samba, Bossa Nova and so on. Every single release is worth your attention and the mix is a very good introduction to it and if you decide to digg deeper, SoundGoods also gives you the links to all the records. Thank you and greetings to Rio!

I also remembered what I said a dozen times to myself, “ripp some of your fuckin LPs”. Well, I am a lazy guy but now after my puplic confession the pressure is rising and in the near future I will present you some vinyl rips of finest and rare brasilian music, which are not available on CD or as a vinyl-rip for all I know.


always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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